Many states grant creditors the right to garnish bank accounts following a debt collection lawsuit. In order for your creditor to garnish funds held by your bank, however, it must know where you bank. Creditors have various methods for tracking down consumer bank accounts.

Facts

A creditor or collection agency doesn't have to have your exact bank account information to freeze and garnish funds from your bank. It merely needs to know the name of your financial institution. Once the creditor knows where you bank, it can send a copy of the court judgment, along with a writ of garnishment, to the bank. The bank will then freeze the appropriate accounts.

Features

Unless you previously paid the creditor using only cash or money orders, the creditor probably already has a record of where you bank. A creditor can merely review your past checks or bank drafts to obtain the name of your bank and serve the garnishment order. If a creditor knows where you live, it may also call the banks in your area seeking information about you.

Considerations

If you've changed banks or the creditor has no information about where you hold your accounts, it may hire a skip tracer to locate your bank. Skip tracers are individuals whose specialty it is to track down debtors and debtors' personal information for creditors and collection agencies.